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Weird, horrible image pixelation on output video

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Xavier Bonet
Weird, horrible image pixelation on output video
on Aug 4, 2017 at 1:15:29 pm
Last Edited By Xavier Bonet on Aug 4, 2017 at 1:16:03 pm

Sometimes, my exported videos have, at some point, a very noticeable drop in quality; that is, the image becomes very pixelated, as you can see below.

What you're seeing is two immediately consecutive frames. One (and all the previous ones) are OK; the other (and all the next ones) are completely and horribly pixelated, as you can see.

Now, in this case it happens in a very busy frame, due to the leafs on the trees, and it does tend to happen when the scene is busy or when there's a lot of movement, but I have seen it happen from time to time in scenes that don't seem to justify it. So I'm wondering if it's my video output settings, a bug in the software, or an issue that's happening with the hardware while rendering (i.e. an external drive skip or crash, or something similar in my computer).

The videos I'm talking about are mainly destined to be up on YouTube, so I believe the output settings I've been using thus far are adequate (some may even say a little overkill, taking into account that YouTube will process and compress the video, lowering the bitrate). But you be the judge of that.

Hardware-wise, I'm rendering this on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) with a 2,5 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM Memory, AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2048 MB Graphics, and a 500 GB Internal SSD. I mainly work from and to (source/output) a LaCie Rugged RAID (4 TB) external HDD, setup in RAID 0 mode, that is, with a real read/write speed of roughly 220-230 MB/s; and have a second external HDD — My Passport Ultra, 2 TB, around 100 MB/s read/write — for some common source materials such as music, sounds, images, etc.

As you'll see below, I'm keeping the source/output values the same. Most of my footage is

My PPro export settings are as follow:

Format: H.264
Source: 1920x1080 (1,0), 29,97 fps, Progressive
Output: 1920x1080 (1,0) 29,97 fps, Progressive, VBR, 2 pass, Target 25.00 Mbps, Max 25.00 Mbps

Basic video settings:
Profile: High
Level: 4.2

[√]Render at Maximum Depth
[√] Use Maximum Render Quality

And the end result is (for example) 2705 MB for a 14:55 video.

So I'm leaning toward thinking that it's an software error rather than the result of my export settings. I think my settings are placed rather high for a YouTube video. Plus, the fact that the frame immediately before the issue starts (and the frames that came before), which is of the same scene, same complexity, perhaps even more movement, has nothing. So the pixelation just begins out of nowhere and stays there, in this case, for over 4 seconds, until there's a cut edit to another shot.

Finally, I'll add that, no, the source material doesn't have that pixelation, and that I've been seeing this happening on and off both in CC 2015 and CC 2017.

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